The Arkansas Governor’s Council on Fitness presented Ouachita Baptist University’s Adaptive Physical Education Methods class with the 2013 Group Leadership in Fitness Award earlier this month.
According to their website, the Leadership Award is given to “an outstanding individual or organization” that promotes physical activity and health, while serving as a role model to personal health, fitness, activity and sportsmanship.
Adaptive physical education methods is a junior level course in Ouachita’s Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies. The class is taught by Dr. Terry DeWitt, professor of kinesiology and leisure studies, who said the class focuses “on people with disabilities, limitations and things that need to be adapted so that everyone can be active.”
With that in mind, DeWitt came up with an idea for his students to take what they were learning in class and apply it in a practical setting. Partnering with Central Primary Elementary School in Arkadelphia, DeWitt and his class met with second grade students during their recess period and encouraged them to engage in healthy activities.
“We used a variety of activities such as four square, basketball and our ‘health Olympics’ that allowed the kids to participate in physical activities and even learn about nutrition while promoting some fun class competition,” said Ramsey Vaughan, a junior kinesiology major from Branson, Mo., and member of the class.
DeWitt’s students divided into five groups and visited Central Primary at least once a week on Tuesdays and Thursdays over a 10-week period. They were conscious of making sure all the children were involved and that the atmosphere was fun and active, not competitive.
“The response was phenomenal,” said DeWitt. “There was an immediate change in the kids … and the teachers acknowledged that and wanted to give us recognition.”
They were honored at a banquet in Little Rock on Oct. 4 for their efforts in getting the 175 second graders actively moving. “It highlighted the outstanding students and faculty we have in the Department of Kinesiology,” said Dr. Mike Reynolds, chair of OBU’s Department of Kinesiology and Leisure Studies.
The experience was not only beneficial to the students at Central Primary, but to the OBU students, as well. “While the kids learned the importance of eating healthy and having an active lifestyle, I think we as a class learned how to interact with kids and teach them these important life lessons,” said Seth Childers, a senior biology major from Cooter, Mo.
“I learned that sometimes younger kids just need a buddy to help them get involved and moving,” Vaughan added. “If we can give kids the opportunities and encouragement to become physically active during recess, then there will be benefits to their health and happiness.”
For more information, contact Mike Reynolds at (870) 245-5188 or firstname.lastname@example.org